Learning Curves: Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Maldives
In the 33 years since the beginning of ADB's engagement with the Maldives, the country has made substantial progress. Real per capita incomes have risen while five of the eight Millennium Development Goals have been achieved ahead of schedule. Basic physical infrastructure (other than water supply and sewerage systems) and social services have been extended to the remote islands. The national capacity, while increased, is still not adequate to shape the development agenda.
This is the first country assistance program evaluation for Maldives since 1978 when it became an ADB developing member country. The report covers ADB country strategies and activities from 1978 to 2010, amounting to $201.5 million. The program was spread across nine sectors: public sector management, transport and information and communication technology, energy, tsunami emergency assistance, multisector, education, industry and trade, agriculture and natural resources, and finance.
Overall country program is rated less than successful. ADB operations contributed to improving physical infrastructure, especially in the energy sector and transport connectivity. However, ADB only partially succeeded in improving public sector capacities.
The study recommends improving the effectiveness of ADB strategy and country program by preparing long-term strategies for priority sectors, increasing collaboration with other development partners, and widening consultative efforts at the national and local levels during the formulation of programs to gain government commitment. The study also recommends enhancing project delivery by using phased approaches for timing and geographic coverage, improving the quality of project preparatory work, and increasing interaction with implementing agencies through a dedicated focal point in ADB's Sri Lanka Resident Mission or a liaison office in Malé.